Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I've Gone and Done it!

I had a lot of  possible titles for this post: like "Bye-bye Dougie Goodbye", "Going Car Free", or "Car Sharing- is it for me?" and so on.  Yes, Dougie is gone, sold and hopefully loved by his new owner. Unfortunately Dougie is just not the vehicle for me anymore. Sentiment is not a good reason to keep a car...or truck. 

I've debated for awhile now whether to try living car-free as Dougie can sit there in his space for a week or more before I drive him anywhere. The last time was a week ago when my friend Julie and I went to the beach. The steering seemed a bit stiffer than usual - I knew something was up.

So on Monday I took Dougie to my local mechanic. It was bad news - the steering column was seized up and would need an expensive repair. I had to decide whether to get it fixed or if this was the time to let Dougie go. One consideration I had was to donate it for a charitable receipt. But my mechanic knew someone looking for a small truck, took a couple of photos of Dougie and contacted him. We were able to work out a deal then and there - I pocketed a goodly sum of cash - more than I expected and walked home. 

It does hurt a little to give up Dougie but he was meant to live in PEI (along with me:) where having a pickup truck is standard. I kept driving Dougie for three more years after selling my house in PEI but knew I'd have to make a change at some point. So I finally did. And now on to the next adventure - seeing if I can manage with my feet, my bike, a car-share vehicle located a few blocks from me (a Prius), taxi, Uber, bus, train and car rentals (Kazi can give me really good deals!!)  She's already quoted me a price between $20-$30 for a day at the beach (24 hours) which includes insurance and gas!! Yes, I don't even have to pay for the gas! Dougie takes at least that much just in gas to get to the beach; so I've got that covered :) 

Bye bye Dougie!
I know I can manage without owning a vehicle for most of the year but then of course there's winter to consider! I'll have to be creative.  I am motivated by the fact that I will have two less budget lines in my monthly budget - car insurance (around $110/monthly) and gas, currently budgeted at
$80 per month. Yes, only $80 a month for a V8 truck! When I first retired I allotted $200 a month for gas and sometimes used more than that. I have gradually reduced that amount over the past three years by walking and biking more. Fortunately I have most of what I need in the immediate neighbourhood. I'm debating whether to add a "Transportation" line to my budget or whether to include it (Uber, car share etc) in my Misc budget. I'm leaning towards having a transportation line so that I can easily see how much I'm spending. 

I can say that I am feeling lighter. Being an environmentalist and owner of a V8 truck just don't go together well in my mind. Going car-free reduces my carbon footprint quite a bit. There was an article in the paper recently that listed BIG ways to help the environment: having one less child,  reducing travel by one international flight per year, don't eat meat and/or go car free. 
I'm working on the meat.
Let's see how I do without a car.

Dougie taking a beating from a hailstorm.

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